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Living in an inflated reality – Navigating Business Challenges in 2023

In this episode of The Real Truth about Business Podcast, Michelle addresses the challenges business owners are facing in 2023, emphasizing the need to dispel unrealistic expectations and the importance of understanding the unique circumstances of this year. She discusses how the business landscape has evolved since the unusual years of 2020, 2021, and 2022 and provides valuable insights for entrepreneurs to thrive in the changing environment.

Key Takeaways:

  1. 2023 Is Different: Recognize that 2023 is a distinct year with changed economic and spending dynamics compared to 2020-2022.
  2. Avoid Comparisonitis: Don’t compare your 2023 performance to the inflated numbers of the past; those years were exceptional.
  3. Realistic Growth: Understand that not every year leads to exponential business growth; flat or incremental years are normal.
  4. Simplify and Strategize: Simplify offerings, focus on what works, and employ strategic planning for success.
  5. Embrace Growth: View challenging years as opportunities for personal and business growth.
  6. Seek Support and Planning: If you’re uncertain about planning, seek assistance and guidance to navigate the challenges effectively.

By understanding the unique dynamics of 2023 and adopting a realistic approach to business growth, entrepreneurs can navigate the challenges and position themselves for long-term success.

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Michelle (00:00.55)

Hey there, I've got an episode today that's been on my heart for a while that is a bit of a rant, but it's a conversation that I've had so many freaking times in the past, I don't even know, two months that I decided I was just going to record this episode because it's a conversation that needs to be had worldwide. So please, please share this episode because I think there's so many people that can relate to it. So if you're listening to this, share it on your socials if it resonates with you.

obviously don't just share. I always appreciate a share, but obviously if this resonates, please share it or at least send the link to somebody that you know could benefit from this too. But this one's going to be a bit of a ranty Michelle. Really with the expectation to try and clear up some, what I am seeing is just some like overinflated expectations and it's really making people feel bad and I'm sick of people feeling negatively about themselves over.

like information that's not true. So anyways, what am I freaking talking about? I'm talking about 2023 being without a doubt a quote unquote different year or slower year or people feeling like they are a failure. And this is my personal take on it. I've spoken with my CPA about it a little bit and I've had multiple conversations with different CPAs and different things. And so here's what's happening is for a lot of people,

what we are experiencing a lot of businesses, this is not just relevant to businesses in the online space. This is businesses, even I have this conversation with my husband almost weekly, because he has a company meeting he has to go to weekly and we almost always have this conversation, is that a lot of people are comparing 2023 to 2022, 2021 and 2020. And here's my take on that. Those three years essentially need to be eliminated from your comparisons. Okay, because

They were a completely different situation, a completely different business environment, a completely different environment than we had ever been into. All right. And so for a lot of people, they entered into the entrepreneurial space or business world in those years. Right. And so 2020, 2021 and 2022, it was not, I don't want to use the word easy.

Michelle (02:21.782)

very lightly. I don't want to use that lightly, but I also want to say like it was easy to make money in 2000 in those years. It just was. And I want you to think about the factors you're involved, right? Like out of nowhere, 2020, there were a lot of people that lost their jobs. We were forced to stay home. We had nothing else to do. For many of us in every, a lot of countries, the government was literally printing money, printing money and depositing it to us on a regular. Our spending was way down because we couldn't go anywhere.

Right? So spending was down and people were, um, all these companies and a lot of businesses were really going low on their prices because they were trying to get you spending. And so we were sitting behind our computers. We had nothing else to do all day. And so as a business owner and as a solopreneur, there was so much new blood. There was just tons and tons of people coming into the online space and they were excited and they were

just super open with their money and they were spending, spending. And so no matter what you put out there, pretty much it would sell. And so it was very easy to scale to that quote unquote magical six figures. And so this went on in 2020. I mean 2020 might've been a little slower, but 2021 and it carried into 2022. I mean even myself, 2022 was my best year to date. And so for a lot of people, we went into 2023 carrying the same energy.

But the reality is, is that 2023 is just not that same energy. Life has gone back to normal. People are traveling. People are doing things. Spending is much more frugal because expenses are up. There's inflation. There's all these different things. Right. And so we're definitely being a little bit more careful in what we're spending. Unfortunately, a lot of people got burned in those three years, because, like I said, it was fresh blood and people were just like.

scavengers just like, oh, me, let's jump in and dive in. And they were just, you know, and so a lot of people had negative experiences. And so they're super hesitant to reinvest. And our buyer behavior is just different. We're realizing now, like we're spending less time behind our computers. I think for three years we were forced to be here. And so a lot of people are like, I just want out. I want to go back.

Michelle (04:35.202)

You also have to remember a lot of those people that came into the works, but into the entrepreneurial space, they got jobs because they realized like, Oh, you can't just magically sit behind your computer and make six figures endlessly for endless amounts of time. And you know, it's not for everybody. Entrepreneurship is not for everybody. So key takeaway here, number one is that it's okay if you're feeling like this is not my gig. I, that's something I also could rant about forever is that like,

There's this thought that if it's not for you, you're a failure. And that's just a bunch of horse shit because it's not for everybody. Entrepreneurship is an up and down roller coaster of emotions and finances and all these things, and it's not for everybody. And if it's not for you, it doesn't make you a failure. Right? So anyways, that's a topic for another day. But here's the thing is like.

Even my husband's company is they've set these massive goals for their sales team, but these goals are based on 2020 to 2022 numbers when supply chain was an issue, where they were the only game in town that had product and they could literally price themselves. They were, they were, their pricing was so overinflated during COVID because everybody needed it. They're in the building and construction industry, but it was like a hot commodity. And so if people wanted it,

could have it. They were literally turning business away. So they turned so much business away and now they've set these goals based on all these things. Well guess what? Life's not that way anymore. Other companies have come back into the work, into the space. They're not, they're having to get you know more competitive with their pricing. They're actually getting outbid on some of these things right? And so they're acting like oh my god we're failing, we're failing, numbers aren't looking that good. No.

the goals that are being set are based on overinflated numbers to begin with. And so if you have been in business for at least, you know, if you started your business in 2020, 21 or 22, my message to you on this one is that you have to take some of that with a grain of salt. Okay. Just know that there was just different spending habits in those three years and 2023 is not a year of failure.

Michelle (06:52.99)

Okay, if you are, this was a conversation we just had in the mastermind is somebody who started their business during 2022, 21, I think, and scaled it to six figures very quickly because she was willing to say yes to anything and she was doing a lot of done for you and people were just throwing business at her again. And now she's feeling like, oh my God, I failed. My 2023 revenue is down. I expected it to grow. But here's the other thing too on this and key takeaway number two is that

Businesses do not double and triple their freaking revenue on average every single year. The only people that say that are the people selling you on their fucking programs that teach you that. And it's just absolutely ridiculous. Okay. Go talk to a local business owner. I guarantee you they're not doubling their business every single year. All right. So standard small business was that some years you remained flat or you remained level.

or some years you saw just an incremental growth or sometimes you even saw a little bit of a decline, but maybe you improved your processes, right? Like this is just standard business. It is totally normal and expected to have these years that are quote unquote flat. It doesn't make anybody a failure. The online space is the, and all the noise in this bullshit space is that, oh my God, you can go from 100,000, your next goal should be 500,000. That.

doesn't happen on a regular, okay? And that's not even realistic. So, if you started your business in those three years and you are feeling like 2023 is freaking hard, guess what? It is, but this is business. It's only hard because life was a little bit easier those three years. But this is also, if you've made it through, I mean, so I'm recording this episode in September of 2023, depending on when you're listening. You know, if you've made it through this year, guess what?

You made it through one of the hardest years that I've seen in probably six years, which is only gonna set you up for success moving forward. Because if you can make it through this, then there's not much more, you know what I mean? You can make it through a lot of things. And so, because a lot of people threw in the towel, there's a lot of people quitting, there's a lot of people saying screw this. And so, just know that buyer behavior is different. You do have to work a little bit harder. Lean in on your relationships, lean in on your communities. Go back to...

Michelle (09:16.694)

business basics, okay? You can't just fly and float around with this fluffy bullshit no plan and expect to make big, big money. No, it requires a little bit of strategic thinking. It requires having a plan. It requires making educated decisions. You can remain in a state of fluidity and saying yes and just kind of living in this world of like, let's just go with the flow, but you've also gotta take the time. If you haven't, listen to it. Go back to the episode on strategic planning.

and do a little reflection and use the data in your business. Use the data, the conversation that we had inside the mastermind, she was saying like, my income is down, blah, I switched all these offers, I feel like I have all these new offers, I don't know. And the simple question is, what offer do you love and which one makes you the most money? Go back to that, right? Like simplify your business if you are feeling like it's flat, okay? If you are feeling like it's flat, now is not the time to just create 8,000 offers.

because every single offer that you create still needs to be sold. I've said that, I will always say that. I probably, you've probably heard it in every single freaking episode I've recorded because it's true. Creating more and more and more offers is not the answer to your revenue issue. You need to be looking at your numbers and understanding what's working and what's not working and simplifying things, getting known, getting known as an expert, right? We talked about that in the episode before if sales are down, all right? And so,

And this whole month of podcasts that I'm doing in September are really centered around understanding the state of business and understanding and being a business owner. These types of years are just typical for businesses. If you weren't in the corporate space or you worked for a company before you started your entrepreneurial journey, right? Like those companies, I guarantee you had flat years. They had years where things weren't looking.

They weren't growth years and that's okay. It doesn't make you a failure. The online space has freaking programmed that into our brain so heavily that we've become this victim of Comparisonitis that is toxic and it's just not even, it's not even the truth, right? Like we're talking the real truth as always with this. That's not even the truth. Like that is not the truth about business. So.

Michelle (11:41.202)

I really just, I'm going to cut it off because I could go on and on about this, but the reality is that 2020, 2021 and 22, in my opinion, were overinflated just due to a varying of factors. Like I said, people were home, we had we had a little bit more freedom with our finance finances, because again, the government was like, here, go spend money. I mean, there was SBA tons of freaking loans. It was grant the PPE loans.

all these, the EIDL loans, all of it, and grants, and everything else, it was quite literally, I mean, I'm not gonna get into the political debate here, but it was free money, right? And so when it's not, there's no skin in the game, people are spending it a little bit more easily. But now all of a sudden, it's like, you work hard for every dollar that you're making, or when you've got more skin in the game, you're a little bit more frugal in where you're spending it, and you're also, people are just getting into like, do I need another course? Do I need one more program?

How many more things do I need? And so really doing that market research to understand what is your audience telling you that they need? Really, really looking at your offers. That's what you need to do in years like this is get back to the basics, get down to the nitty gritty, looking at what's working, what is not working, and make educated decisions, okay? But also, don't get discouraged. Don't get discouraged. The only way you lose is if you quit. So...

Just keep working towards it, but simplify it. Remember, more offers is not the answer to your revenue issue. It's not. Go back to the basics. What offer do you love? What one sells the best? And which one makes you the most revenue and profit? I saw a beautiful post today. I don't even know. I'd love to give her credit. I don't remember her name. About like,

selling a $5,000 offer versus a $2,000 offer and how most people fight to sell the $5,000 offer when really the $2,000 offer is far more revenue. And this is what our profit, this is again, why I believe wholeheartedly in the unlimited support package model because it's a much more profitable offer. That's just the reality of it. It's much more profitable. But anyways, that's my...

Michelle (14:01.59)

little bit of a rant today is that understanding that 2023, yes, it's been a little bit harder of a year, but it's also just been a little bit of dose of reality. Okay. And just understanding that this is business, this is business. There's nothing you're doing wrong. There's nothing anybody, you know, you can blame the economy, you can blame inflation, you can blame politics, but the reality is, is that there's always going to be something going on in the world. At this point in the world we live in.

It's inevitable. We just went through another hurricane here in Florida. I mean, they're used to seeing hurricanes once every five years. This is two to three years in a row we've gotten hurricanes, right? So the world is just always gonna have something. You can't blame. There's always gonna be a reason that you can blame something for why things aren't going as well as you think they should. When in reality, you can also just say,

I understand that this is a situation that we are in and here's what I'm going to do to try and combat that. There's always a workaround. There's always something you can do and it just takes a little bit of strategic planning. That's really all this comes down to is this is why it's so important to have a strategic plan and being able to look at your business and understanding it for what it truly is. Don't look at it any other way.

Data is data, feedback is feedback. Sometimes, you know, it's not negative, positive, anything. Just look at it from a neutral perspective that this is the truth, this is the data, and here's what I can do to make an educated decision to grow my business from here, okay? That's the reality of it. So if you're stuck in the comparison of 2022 and you're wondering what the fuck is going on and why does this feel so hard this year, it is.

It feels harder because it is harder. That's just, that's it. It feels harder because it is harder, but it's not negative. All right. Use it to your advantage. Be proud of yourself for still sticking it out. Be proud of yourself for every freaking dime you've made. Be proud of yourself for the fact that you have revenue coming in. Be proud of yourself that you're going to push through 2023. You're going to learn from it. It has been a pivotal year for learning and growing.

Michelle (16:26.038)

These are the years that give you the most growth. There's always, always bigger growth on the other side of some of these messy middles, right? And so these harder years are just, you have to have them. If every business, if every month and every year was like this stellar freaking amazing, easy peasy, you could turn six, seven figures without hardly even having to work at it, if it were like that, everybody and their freaking brother would be a business owner.

Right? Like everybody would be self-employed, but we're not because that's just not the truth. That's not reality. And so live with the reality that you're in and feel good about it. Feel good about it. There is something positive there. And if you need a little help, if you have no idea how to have a plan, if you jumped in with both feet in 2022 or 21 and 20 or 2020 and now you're like, hmm shit.

Obviously this isn't working. You're listening to this episode going, you're right Michelle, I need to get my shit together. I need to have a plan, but I have no idea where to start. Well, guess what? I love it. This is what I love. We just had the best biz planning session like of the year last two weeks ago, whatever it was. So seriously, you know, it's okay. Give yourself the permission to say this has been a year of pivotal growth.

and use it as an app. All right? I love ya. I'll talk to you soon.

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